“I’m not trying to be Steve. I’m not trying to replace Steve. I’m just trying to be the best Captain America I can be … It’d be a whole lot easier if I had Cap’s wingmen on my side.” When John Walker (Wyatt Russell) accepted the mantle of Captain America, it was after Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) gave up the star-spangled shield handed to him by a retired Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) in Avengers: Endgame. As Sam and James ‘Bucky’ Barnes (Sebastian Stan) try to live up to the legacy Captain America left behind, Russell says his controversial character is a soldier “just trying to do his job.”
“‘You took away the memory of our friend.’ Yeah, I don’t think that he realizes that as much,” Russell told The A.V. Club. “I don’t think he’s as aware of that as much as he’s just trying to do his job as whatever version of Captain America they’ve said he should be. And as far as Sam and Bucky go, I think he’s just trying to do the best that he can to try and get them to be on his team without fully understanding the depth of what he’s asking them to do. Because he didn’t know Steve, he didn’t know all the information that they knew.”
In therapy with Dr. Raynor (Amy Aquino), Sam said he did what he thought was right — and told Bucky that his decision to return the shield is “something you or Steve will never understand.” Now that there’s a new government-approved Star-Spangled Man on the scene, Sam is asking himself: did he do the right thing?
“That’s part of what [Sam and Bucky] need to come to terms with, too: it’s like, Sam gave up the shield. ‘What did you expect, dude?’ You know, ‘If you give up the shield, what do you expect?'” Russell said. “And that’s what [Sam’s] having to wrestle with too, which makes it interesting. He’s wrestling with his own decision, it’s not decisions made for him. And you know, it’s like you don’t miss your water until your well runs dry, and that’s a little bit of what Sam’s having to deal with now, and that’s an interesting part of the story.”
“It’s kind of part of the character and it was part of the draw, was being able to play someone like that and try to do it convincingly,” Russell told us. “But it was fun to be able to be set up as that character. Normally everyone’s always trying to make you likable, or more vulnerable, or whatever it is. And this was a different thing for me to be able to do. And I had a blast doing it.”
Starring Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Emily VanCamp, Wyatt Russell, Erin Kellyman, Danny Ramirez, Clé Bennett, and Daniel Brühl, new episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premiere Fridays only on Disney+.
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